150-year-old 'miracle' Bible survives 2 Wisconsin church fires: '[It] has been saved twice'
A 150-year-old Bible that survived two major church fires now serves as a symbol of perseverance, say members of a Plover, Wis. church.
Firefighters said the Springs United Methodist Church is likely a “total loss” after a fire engulfed the building on Monday. The church was built in 1964, according to the Portage County Historical Society.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation but it started in the attic, firefighters said.
Tim O’Brien, the pastor of the church, told the Stevens Point Journal the Bible serves as a symbol of strength after surviving the fire. He said the Bible also survived a fire at the former St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Stevens Point, Wis., which church members said burned down on Easter Sunday 1959.
“It’s a great testament to your faith that stands strong even in the midst of this (fire),” O’Brien told the Stevens Point Journal.
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Judy Hill, a church member since 1984, told Fox News the Bible was in a glass case when the church caught fire and likely survived because of that.
She said about 100 church and community members gathered Tuesday afternoon in the parking lot of the church to share memories.
“It’s a miracle that the Bible has been saved twice,” Hill said. “It makes everyone feel good. Everyone was worried about the Bible. That was the first thing everyone asked about.”
She said she hopes the church can continue to function as a congregation and have their place to worship.
"I'm overwhelmed with feelings," Trisha Moody, a church member, told the Stevens Point Journal. "I have lifetime friendships that happened because of this church." Moody, who taught Sunday school at the church, said she was baptized and confirmed there and her son was baptized at the church as well.
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The church merged with St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Stevens Point in 2014 and the two congregations function as one church with the same pastor. Hill told Fox News members of the Springs United Methodist Church congregation are now asked to attend St. Paul’s United Methodist Church for Sunday service until the church’s board of trustees decides the future of the building.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.